Liverpoolannounced Wednesday the club has signed centre-back Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for an undisclosed world-record fee for a defender, which Jeremy Wilson of The Telegraph reports is £75 million.
Both Liverpool and Southampton confirmed the deal would be completed when the transfer window opens on Jan. 1, 2018.
That £75-million figure makes Van Dijk the most expensive defender in history – roughly £20-£25 million more than City paid for each of Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker – and would put him level with Romelu Lukaku as the seventh-most expensive transfer of all time.
Wilson reports the two clubs have held discreet meetings in recent days and have hammered out terms for the deal, which is likely to include a salary of around £180,000 per week. It also concludes Liverpool’s protracted pursuit of the Netherlands international from last summer – one that saw Van Dijk hand in a transfer request and the Saints issue a complaint to the Premier League against Liverpool for making an illegal approach.
Liverpool issued a public apology for the “misunderstanding” and formally announced an end to its pursuit in July.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino slowly reintroduced Van Dijk into the team following his self-imposed exile at the start of the year, but once again benched Van Dijk in the build-up to this now-confirmed move.
Wilson reports Chelsea had also reportedly lodged a “large offer” for the defender but adds that Van Dijk’s preference has always been to work with Jurgen Klopp. With the move now confirmed, the German tactician can introduce a new defender to his ranks, which should help mitigate some of the team’s defensive errors – the sort that have hampered results despite Liverpool boasting an exciting, dynamic, and free-scoring attacking quartet.
Van Dijk also brings with him a penchant for passing, which Klopp’s side could desperately use from the backline, as well as height and presence, which should help in set-piece situations.